Technology and homework – helping students with technological tools

I have realized recently how much I use technology as a teaching tool.  This past week I was in Lubljana, Slovenia meeting with a small but dedicated group of technology teachers to re-write curriculum for my school, Quality Schools International.  

While I was there, students continued to meet.  During this time, I used both skype and etherpad extensively to stay in touch with what students were doing.  

I used Twitter to get teaching ideas and watch for the latest applications to reference in our curriculum.  We will be using i-cyte to supplement our curriculum with updated, collaborative links to the best sites for educating students (more on that later). 

Today, after returning to Kazakhstan, I used a Geography Homework Generator to help give students creative but relevant tasks to deepen their understanding of Central American regional issues. 

I also quickly adjusted my lesson after noticing a tweet from @earthhour regarding Earth Hour on March 27 at 8:30 PM, and showed them a powerful youtube video of what Earth Hour is all about.  

Tonight, as students begin completing their homework, I have fielded one cell phone call and two skype requests for additional information about homework.  Students came away with the information they needed to complete their homework, feeling empowered to complete it.  

Certainly there are costs to being so connected to my work as a teacher.  But the results of using technology are obvious.  My job as an educator does not begin or end when I walk through the schoolhouse doors.  I refuse to think that way.  Technology challenges those of us who choose to think that way to do more.  But the payoff of using technology in this way is well worth the cost.  

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Transition and Signal Words in Essays

There are many sources of effective transition and signal words for essays. Here, I have tried to combine the best of the best into a one page handout.

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We seem to celebrate those humans who transcend Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

So often in Hollywood, and in history, we celebrate those humans who become compassionate and empathetic when they should actually be focusing on their physiological and safety needs.

Thinking about the other, at the expense of the personal; it gets our attention. Historical figures such as Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi are perhaps extremes of this. But there are many other characters in fiction and in reality, whose response to their surroundings cried out for attention to safety and physiological needs, but whose words and action belie concern for others. The new Charter for Compassion is perhaps an extension of this altruistic urge (

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AASL Standards Are The Best Single Source for Identifying and Organizing Skills

Standards for the standards for ther 21st-century learner
21st-Century Learner

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner offer vision for teaching and learning to both guide and beckon our profession as education leaders. They will both shape the library program and serve as a tool for library media specialists to use to shape the learning of students in the school.

Rights and permission on the use of the learning standards

Downloading and Ordering

You can download the Learning Standards as an eight-page full-color pamphlet:

You can also purchase the learning standards in packets of 12 from the ALA Online Store external link icon. Prices are $13.50 for members; $14.95 for non-members.

*This publication complements the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.


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One of my tasks as an educator is to prepare personalized student anecdotes as part of the school’s ongoing effort to effectively communicate with parents. I have worked diligently the last couple of years to catalog and organize skills, student dispositions and methods recommended student support to assist in creating these anecdotal reports. My lists (created using Omnioutliner Pro) are solid.

But the single best source I have found for a well thought out catalog of skills, dispositions in action, student responsibility and self-assessment strategies is created by the American Association of School Librarians. This organization has done an excellent job of organizing skills into a format that is user-friendly.

As I am preparing anecdotal reports, I am continuously drawn to the skills set forth in this 8 page document. Yes, my cobbled-together list is solid, and I am using it, but the AASL Standards are key in making my task workable.

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World Regional Aerial Panoramas – Excellent Geography Resource

This site has excellent aerial panoramas of regions throughout the world. There are enough images to make it useful. Its use of texture and color enhance the sense of a three dimensional model.

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The Miniature Earth

This movie is an excellent reminder of how well most of the people reading this post have it. It is an excellent teaching tool. After watching it, consider taking action by donating through

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Photo for Aviary

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